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***MA - ACTION ALERT***

MA Raw Milk Farms Threatened as State Moves to Make Buying Clubs Illegal

April 15, 2010

The State of Massachusetts is proposing new language to be added to the regulations that govern the sale of raw milk, which would make it illegal for consumers to entrust another individual to purchase milk from the farm for them. This is aimed at the buying clubs that have made raw milk available and accessible to hundreds of families over the years. The purchases made through these clubs have been instrumental in helping to sustain dairy farms and these clubs have saved thousands of gallons of gas by essentially carpooling milk.

ACTIONS:

1. There will be a public hearing on this proposed change on May 10 at 10:00 a.m. in Conference Room A on the second floor of 100 Cambridge Street, Boston, MA. We are urging everyone who is concerned about food rights, access to healthy milk, and the preservation of Massachusetts dairy farms to attend and be heard. Written comments will also be accepted up until May 10, and may be sent to Scott J. Soares, Department of Agricultural Resources, 251 Causeway Street, Boston, MA 02114.

2. We are also urging people to contact their legislators to express their opposition to this proposed change. (To see who your representatives are go to http://www.mass.gov/legis/city_town.htm)  Establish a rapport with your representatives and let them know your feelings on this.  Get them to care.  (Use buzz words like: special interest group, consumer freedom of choice, big business versus the little guy, don't allow attacks against small businesses which are our bread & butter.) Educate your senators and representatives with the following information:

MDAR supports the sale of raw milk at the farm and regulates it to ensure its safety. There is no valid public health reason to distinguish between a person going to the farm to purchase milk for themselves, and having someone else bring it to them.
Raw milk for sale at the farm must meet the exact same testing requirements for pasteurized milk sold in grocery stores, yet there are certainly no restrictions on buying pasteurized milk for others.
These clubs have been in operation for years, some of them very publicly. MDAR has certainly known about them. During that time there have been absolutely no public health problems. That kind of success should be rewarded with an expansion of markets, not a reduction.
The clubs do not sell or distribute milk - they do not maintain an inventory, mark up their product, or offer it for sale to the public. They are acting as agents of individual consumers who contract with the private club to provide a service.
The proposed change is so broad that it would make it illegal to pick up a gallon of milk for your neighbor.
Buying clubs save gas and the environment, just like carpooling.
Buying clubs support the farmers, which means protecting jobs, preserving farmland and helping the economy.

No state in the nation has acted in this way to make milk buying clubs illegal. It is short-sighted and counter-productive on the part of Massachusetts officials to try to do so, as it will harm dairy farms and likely result in consumers purchasing milk from dairies that are not licensed to sell raw milk. Milk from these dairies is not tested by MDAR to ensure that it meets the standards for human consumption, and a regulation that would result in people drinking milk from these farms is unacceptable.

The proposed change would have negative effects on other farms and farm products as well, as the clubs often also purchase produce and other products from neighboring farms for their members. With milk being the main product for these clubs, if they are no longer allowed to purchase milk for their members they may well also stop buying other products.

The full text of the proposed language to be inserted is: "No person shall sell, distribute, provide or offer for consumption to the public any raw milk elsewhere than on a dairy farm where that raw milk was produced provided that to such farm a Certificate of Raw Milk for Retail Sale has been issued by the Commissioner. For the purposes of these Regulations the term "offer for consumption" shall include any sampling of milk by the public or offering of samples to the public."
The full regulation is available at:  
http://www.mass.gov/agr/legal/docs/330-CMR-27.00-Proposed-Raw-Milk-Regulation.pdf

The Massachusetts Raw Milk Network is now on Facebook. Please join our page for regular news and updates about raw milk in MA.
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=profile&id=100000977292114#!/pages/Massachusetts-Raw-Milk-Network/354041680738?ref=mf

Please forward this to friends and interested groups.

Many thanks.

 

Cyndy Gray, WAPF Chapter Leader Massachusetts North Shore and FTCLDF Member
[email protected]

 

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